6 Must-Book Restaurants in Montreal This Spring

Credit: Pincette Bar à Homard

After a third lockdown this winter, Montreal’s restaurant scene is back with a vengeance. As you emerge from hibernation, be sure to book a table at one of these hot new spots, including a casual Portuguese grill, a smooth speakeasy, and one newcomer with an all-lobster menu.

Ristorante Donato (Westmount)

Credit: Ristorante Donato

This neighborly newcomer in Westmount, which opened in December, bills itself as an Italian chophouse, meaning its trio of hearty red meat dishes—filet mignon with red wine sauce, a rib-eye, and milk-fed veal with aged balsamic—are go-to menu items. But there’s a little something for everyone, with a short-but-sweet selection of simple, creative pasta and pizza options, and grilled seafood too. Expect a focus on primo ingredients in an understated yet swanky atmosphere, making this a formidable date night contender.

Vandale par Le Speakeasy (Old Montreal)

From the crew behind Prohibition-themed bar Le Speakeasy (right next door) comes this sharp bistro-bar. Don’t expect any 1930s aesthetics here, though. With graffiti-laden walls painted by several Montreal artists, Vandale has its feet placed firmly in the 21st century. The cocktail list, with a funky drink mix rich with fruits, herbs and spices, is even dedicated to those painters. If you’re eating, there’s a tidy menu of bites; options such as oysters from New Brunswick and a tartare of Quebec venison pair well with the libations. A few larger dishes, such as scallops and a tomahawk steak, round it out. 

Pincette Bar à Homard (Old Montreal)

Credit: Pincette Bar à Homard

Those in need of a meal loaded with lobster should look no further than this seafood bar, which opened in August. It’s styled as a modern take on the classic lobster shack from the Canadian Maritimes, and the décor, with a subtle nautical theme and plenty of wood accents, strikes this chord perfectly. On the menu, there are all things crustacean, including a lobster guédille (an East Coast lobster roll), a snow crab club sandwich, and a lobster tail risotto. Those who prefer their seafood sans shell can opt for fish and chips or tuna tartare, among other options.

Stellina (Old Montreal)

This sleek new arrival, which opened in November, comes from some of the key players behind former Montreal supper club Buonanotte, and naturally, it’s a very Italian affair. Chef Jonathan Agnello, known for delectable pork sandwiches at the casual Porchetta, has crafted a menu full of hand-made pasta dishes with a focus on varieties such as corzetti—small doughy circles, stamped with floral patterns—and capunti, noodles resembling empty pea pods. The settinga tony heritage buildingand a list of exclusive imported wines seal the deal. Note: Stellina shouldn’t be confused with La Stellina, a café on Beaubien Street.

Tropikàl RestoBar (Saint-Henri)

Credit: Tropikàl RestoBar

After appearing on Top Chef Canada in 2021, creative Montreal chef Jae-Anthony Dougan is back in business with this upbeat spot in the city’s southwest, which opened last spring. He’s mixing Caribbean and Afro-Latin cuisines, so expect newfangled versions of classics such as Jamaican-style oxtail and Haitian griot, plus some of Dougan’s famous culinary innovations, like jerk poutine. With a bouncy soundtrack, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to arrive early and stay lateand creative cocktails (such as a spicy rum-apple concoction) will fuel you to do just that. 

Chapado (Old Montreal)

Portuguese fare is one of Montreal’s signature strengths, and this new September arrival, located right by the Old Port, is a worthy addition to the list. Classic grilled meats are a key focus here: There’s piri-piri chicken (also available in sandwich form) as well as pork and ribs, a casual lunch option. Or stop by in the evenings for tapas-style appetizers such as white wine clams or grilled sardines, exuding strong Mediterranean flavors. Chapado also has a great selection of craft beers from Quebec microbreweries such as Boldwin and Des Cantonswhich make great pairings for the spicy, juicy bird.